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Concussion: Nothing remotely Bunuel about this Belle de Jour wannabe

1.5 out of 4 stars

Written by
Stacie Passon
Directed by
Stacie Passon
Starring
Robin Weigert, Julie Fain Lawrence
Classification
14A
Country
USA
Language
English
Year
2013

After being struck on the temple with a baseball, Abby (Robin Weigert, Calamity Jane of Deadwood fame) realizes she's unhappy in her middle-class suburban life as a PTA mom in a leafy New Jersey suburb, where she's in a same-sex, but mostly sexless, relationship with a busy divorce lawyer, Kate (Julie Fain Lawrence).

The joggle to the noggin loosens up other things: Abby decides to visit a prostitute and then decides to take up the life herself, though just one morning a week, while she's busy renovating a mock boho Manhattan loft.

Concussion was apparently inspired by Luis Bunuel's bourgeois-baiting fantasy Belle de Jour (1967), starring Catherine Deneuve as a wealthy Paris wife secretly working the afternoon shift at a bordello, but Stacie Passon's debut film is a humdrum distant descendant.

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Thinly plotted and repetitively shot (lots of exercise scenes, rumpled sheets and wistful gazes), the film provides zero insight into the acerbic, restless character of Abby, beyond her itch for some careful transgression. Since she doesn't need the money, chooses her clients in advance and sets the boundaries, it's less about prostitution than role-playing with vanilla benefits. Mostly, Abby seems to enjoy playing wry life coach to her clients, from an overweight NYU student to a repressed West Side matron, while inexplicably failing to communicate with her partner.

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